Would you like learn more about the moths of the Forth estuary area, practise your identification skills and contribute to a national species recording scheme this summer? The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) has teamed up with local moth enthusiast Professor David Bryant to run a series of seven fun, free workshops called ‘Mothing Around the Forth’ which will give people of all ages a chance to discover more about this declining species, have a go at moth trapping and generate wildlife records for Butterfly Conservation’s UK wide survey of moth numbers and distribution.
On 14th May from 08.30am to 12 noon, the first workshop will introduce the range of moths found at different times of year; give you a chance to get started on moth id and using identification guides as we open moth traps left out overnight at the RSPB Skinflats Reserve near Falkirk; and enable you to build and take home your very own simple moth trap. All materials will be provided free of charge thanks to IFLI’s funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. We ask that attendees of the first session can commit to attending at least three additional sessions, but ideally more so that you can build your moth identification confidence and see the different species of moth found in a range of locations.
Spaces on all sessions are openly available to all and free of charge, but priority for sessions 2-7 will be given to those who attended the first session on 14th May. Sessions two to seven will be held at a range of sites throughout the Inner Forth area during summer 2016 on the following dates:
· Session 2: Saturday 18th June, 08:30 – 10:30, RSPB Black Devon Wetlands Reserve, Clackmannanshire
· Session 3: Sunday 3rd July, details TBC
· Session 4: Thursday 14th July, 08:30 – 10:30, FCS Devilla Forest, Fife
· Session 5: Sunday 14th August, details TBC
· Session 7: Saturday 17th September, details TBC
Kate Fuller, IFLI Community Engagement Officer says: “As part of IFLI’s Forth Nature Counts project, the ‘Mothing Around the Forth’ series is a fantastic opportunity to visit a range of locations to uncover the different moths that call this corner of central Scotland home. Participants will see their identification skills and confidence build as the sessions go by and in addition to common species we hope to find some less-recorded moths. By either building a moth trap during the first session, or borrowing equipment from the IFLI team we will support attendees to have a go at moth trapping in their own time and garden or local greenspace. All records generated will feed into Butterfly Conservation’s upcoming Moth Atlas and be a valuable contribution to nature conservation and understanding.”
David Bryant commented on how moths can help indicate the health of the countryside: “Moths fly at night so are unknown to most of us. Nevertheless, many moths are brightly coloured and appealing once seen closely, and at the same time they and their ‘duller’ cousins play a vital role in the natural world. Not least, a very high proportion of our summer-visiting birds, from warblers to Cuckoos travel from Africa each year to feast on ‘our’ moth caterpillars (they don’t come for the weather!). For this and other reasons, it is important to know what moths are present and whether they are thriving. Sadly, a recent report showed that most of our moths are in decline and this is part of the explanation for parallel declines in farmland and woodland birds. By recording the variety of species and number of moths found in different areas you will be helping build a better picture of moths presence and/absence throughout the landscape.”
These workshops are part of a suite of activities and events that will be organised over the next two years as part of IFLI’s Forth Nature Counts project. The project aims to generate wildlife records and give people the confidence and skills to record nature throughout the Inner Forth, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.
On 22 March our IFLI Programme Manager Kate Studd left to start her maternity leave. Kate has played a pivotal role in IFLI, leading it through the development phase, and for the last year making sure we stayed on track to deliver our many projects.
Whilst Kate is on maternity leave, Alex Page has taken up the role of Programme Manager. Before coming to us, Alex was Programme Director of Raleigh International in Tanzania, and was also involved in the development of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership, so he has lots of great experience to bring to the role. We hope everyone will join us in welcomming Alex to the team and look forward to working with him during his time with us.